I thought I knew storms I had seen them before cloudbursts and heartbursts splayed branches missed appointments wobbling skies like jelly we used to love jelly we used to love storms until they wiggled between our toes and spread spider-legs. I thought I knew storms but I didn’t see her sidling out of bed a grand jeté and then a tap not on the head nor the shoulder but in the pit of the stomach— thud! a giant bowling ball flung across the sky flinging falling flinging your soul out of your body for a fraction of a light-year it is a light-thing and the lightning rips out from your shoes the world is a photo negative. And all the while the river keening leaping a million white horses a sea-monster or two and others you can’t name in this life a million creatures making their way undeterred like thoughts to who-knows-where but you want to know so bad you almost join them. Spectres breathe upon the hills in slow descent and the charcoal trees quiet not frightened and neither are you though there is terror there is fire in how the rain pelts the stones in how the night falls on the earth like peeling leather from an old skirt. Thud— and suddenly you can no longer take it no, not the fury, but the stasis it can’t really be so routine so familiar no the last time the plates tore apart like cookies and the oceans towered and time was born— it can’t really be happening while you sit mosquito-netted to screens bleating about delayed refunds governments and shards of existence. It can’t be, and why doesn’t anyone say it? What else is there to talk about but this— this which might, with a flick of its might, swallow us, screens and all? What else is there but this as morning pales over your shoulders flushed surrender between the planks another phalanx of drops and you think: I thought I knew storms I had seen life before I thought— and I was wrong.
About the Author:
Aishwarya Jha is a writer, designer and entrepreneur from New Delhi, India. Her work recently appeared in a digital anthology by Oxford University and is forthcoming in multiple literary journals. In another life, her award-winning one-act plays were performed around the world, in addition to being taught at workshops. Her debut novel will be published in 2024 and she is drafting her second as part of the Asian Women Writers programme.
*Featured image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay